In the beginning...

Today, we start the first day of our 16th year aboard Nine of Cups. Fifteen years ago on May 21st, 2000, early on a hot, hazy morning, we slid out of our berth at the Portofino Marina in Kemah, Texas and never looked back … except to take this photo, of course. leaving kemah

There was a bit of trepidation and a bit of angst, but mostly there was sheer exultation and joy … we were beginning our liveaboard life at last. Where would Nine of Cups take us? Would we enjoy living aboard as much as we had anticipated? Were we ready? Would we adapt to this drastically different lifestyle and embrace it as much we hoped?

david and marcie

We had taken on a new crew member the week before … an SPCA-born grey-nosed kitten that we named Magellan … Jelly, for short. She was mewing and howling with the new movement of the boat that she'd never experienced before. She would, in time, become a good sailor, but at that moment she wasn't sure that her new life was one that suited her … nor were we.

baby jelly

There were so many dragons to slay, so many places we wanted to go, so much to see and do. I remember David sitting at the saloon table, paper charts, dividers and parallel ruler at hand, plotting our first passage across the Gulf of Mexico.

david plots the first passage

There was so much to learn … that steep learning curve we've often described. It was wondrous and overwhelming at the same time. That first passage took us five days and 652 nm from Kemah to St. Petersburg, Florida.

the learning curve

Ever since then, it's been just a little further. And here we are … 80,000 miles later on the opposite side of the planet. How could we have ever dreamed then just how grand it would be? Our only regret? That we didn't start this cruising life sooner.

cups in cape town

For more pics of the early days aboard, check out the Nine of Cups website.